Easter is right around the corner. Here in North America, we have our own Easter traditions that involve Easter egg hunts,
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In Germany, the Easter festivities begin on Easter Thursday where the meal features only green food, complete with a lamb-shaped cake. During Easter weekend, they celebrate winter’s end and welcome spring by burning their Christmas trees in a huge bonfire.
Germans don’t have traditional Easter egg hunts. Instead of hiding the eggs, they prominently hang them from colorful Easter trees in the streets. A popular game played over the holiday involves dancing around eggs on the ground. The person who breaks the least amount of eggs wins.
Easter in Sweden is very similar to Halloween in North America. On Saturday, children dress up like witches and go door-to-door trading handmade trinkets for candy. On Easter Sunday, they have a huge bonfire that is said to chase away witches over the course of the holiday.
Egg rolling, a traditional Swedish Easter game, is similar to a game played in the UK and Scotland. However, the Swedish game has a bit of a twist. Instead of rolling eggs down a hill, they set up roofing tiles to roll the eggs down. The person whose egg doesn’t break is the winner.
Mary had a little lamb and its fleece was made of butter? In Poland, carving lambs out of butter for table centerpieces to represent the Lamb of God is a popular Easter tradition. However, the centerpieces aren’t mere decorations. They use the butter over the course of the meal.
Men in Poland are not allowed to participate in the baking of the Easter bread in case the dough gets on their mustache. Legend has it that the bread won’t rise, and their mustaches will turn gray. Additionally, boys douse girls with water on Easter Sunday, soaking them. The girl who gets the best soaking will marry within the year.
There is no Easter bunny in France. Instead, the church bells bring Easter treats for the little ones. The bells ring all year long, but not from Thursday to Sunday of Easter weekend to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. The legend told to the children is that every year the bells magically fly to Rome to receive blessings, and then fly back on Sunday.
When the bells magically fly back, they leave chocolate and other Easter treats in the gardens for the children to find.
Australia has strayed away from the Easter bunny because of its crop destroying nature. Instead, they’ve adopted the Easter Bilby. Interestingly, in an attempt to decrease the commercialism of the holiday, and also to raise awareness that the Bilby is an endangered species, a portion of all sales go to the Save the Bilby Fund.
Although chocolate is still a favorite at Easter, they love their hot cross buns, which carry a cross on top to symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus. On the Tuesday before Lent, also known as Pancake Tuesday and considered the big feast of the Easter holidays, they eat as many pancakes as they can.
In the Philippines they celebrate Easter weekend with colorful parades and elaborate celebrations. During the parades some extremists whip or crucify themselves for self-purification, so they can cleanse themselves of their sins. The church has tried to discourage people from doing this to no avail.
On Easter Sunday people also adorn their homes with palm leaves they have taken to church for the priest to bless.